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Only Rain Down the Drain

Clean Catch Basin - clean environment Dirty Catch Basin - polluted waterways
A clean catch basin means a clean environment.
A dirty catch basin means polluted and clogged sewers.

Catch basins are the semi-circular grids that you see at almost every street corner throughout San Francisco. There are close to 23,000 catch basins in the City. They are the main entryway for rainwater and street runoff into our combined sewer system.

Litter in/around catch basins can prevent stormwater from entering the sewer system and  cause property and neighborhood flooding, and can also pollute our waterways. According to the State Water Resource Control Board, urban stormwater runoff is the leading cause of water pollution in California.


What you can do to help keep our catch basins clean and clear of debris:

  • Pick up after your pets!
  • Lawn and Garden Care: Minimize the use of fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides - go to for more information.
  • Car Care: Take your car to a car wash instead of washing it in the driveway - if you do wash your own car, do it on a grassy area if possible and don't use harsh cleaners.
  • Household Hazardous Waste: Properly dispose of household chemicals and hazardous wastes - go to for details. Products that say caution, warning, danger or poison on the label should generally be taken to a hazardous waste facility.
  • General Clean Up: Sweep sidewalks and driveways clean - do not hose them down. Never sweep anything into a street drain! Litter and debris that accumulates on your sidewalk can be swept into the street, but only in the hour prior to scheduled street sweeping.
For clogged catch basins, you can call San Francisco's 311 or go to
Last updated: 6/6/2014 4:13:39 PM